The disappointment was written all over Mayor Dan Rizzo’s face Tuesday afternoon once it became apparent that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) had swung to the competing project in Everett.
But he didn’t stay down long.
Jumping up to meet with reporters prior to the press conference for Wynn and Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria, he said all is not lost for Revere.
“Unlike some people have said, this is not all we have been working on exclusively,” he said. “There is other City business that has been going on while this has played out. The City still has a lot of positive attributes. There is still a three-mile stretch of Beach, our proximity to Logan Airport still exists and our proximity to Boston and all its attractions hasn’t changed…This isn’t the only thing going on in Revere, but it was a project we thought would really propel our vision… Sure, we took a hit today. But as we demonstrated in the days following July 28th when we were struck by an EF2 tornado, our community is resilient. I have no doubt that our city’s best days lie ahead.”
He said in the end, they chose to take a risk with Wynn.
“The Commission decided to go risky versus safe,” he said. “The Mohegan Sun proposal was a safe proposal because they committed to putting things in writing…I hope for the sake of the Commonwealth they’re (Wynn’s) word is good and they’ll do everything they said they’d do. It just didn’t go our way.”
The immediate concern following the outcome, however, lied with the solvency of the track. Rizzo and Suffolk Downs COO Chip Tuttle indicated that the 79-year-old Thoroughbred track could be closing down soon.
“This is very likely the end of a 79 year racing legacy,” he said at the outset. “It’s extraordinarily unfortunately that the first result of this action will be the loss of 800 jobs in the Commonwealth. For the people who work at the track there’s no comfort in what will happen five, 10 or 15 years down the road…We’ll finish out our live racing season this month and continue to simulcast and we’ll see where we go from there.”
Later on Tuesday, he issued a statement saying there would be a meeting very soon with employees to talk about the closing of the track.
“We will be meeting with employees and horsemen over the next several days to talk about how we wind down racing operations as a 79-year legacy of Thoroughbred racing in Massachusetts will be coming to an end, resulting in unemployment and uncertainty for many hard-working people,” said Tuttle.
Wynn has pledged to give a hiring preference to those from the track who lose their jobs, but Rizzo and Tuttle pointed out that could be three or four years down the road.
“He said something about a hiring preference for those workers, but there’s a four year gap between the track closing and him opening,” said Rizzo. “My heart goes out to the Revere residents who will wake up tomorrow and likely no longer have a job at Suffolk Downs.”
Rizzo added that he planned to mount no legal challenges against the decision for Wynn, and also said he did not plan to support the repeal of expanded gaming this November on Question 3.